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Early season scenario


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Hey guys. I want to run a scenario by you. So I found this river spot in my kayak last year but it was later in the summer. Caught smallmouth pretty regularly on topwaters, small paddle tails, and senkos. This year I’m itching to get out there even though it’s well earlier than I’ve fished it before. 
 

The part I’m fishing is fairly shallow. About 60 yards wide but slow moving water as it’s above a dam. Water is high 50s almost 60.  I would imagine fish will bed on the bank as it’s a mix of sand and rock and shallow. The middle is deeper but no apparent drop off. I don’t really care for trying to catch bedded fish though. I’m looking to hopefully find a few prespawn fish that are in the deeper area still. 
 

Thinking about throwing stuff like small swim baits or hopping jigs? Maybe try a jerk bait or spinner bait? Chatterbaits?

 

My inexperience with these early season fish is probably showing but just curious how to best go about it. 

 

 

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I always have a tough time in our river this time of year. Typically the water is high and dirty compared to what it is in summer.  During this time I usually do best with t rigs (mostly tubes). It seems like the fish are strongly associating to the bottom. I'm dragging rather than hopping.

 

Once things warm, slow and clear just a bit hopping or swimming jigs and tubes will be the thing. We've had a week of warm weather and no rain since the river abruptly came up a couple weeks ago so that time is probably now.

 

My biggest brown bass last year was caught on a black and blue arkie head jig on 5/24.

 

Your river might treat you completely differently but this is what I see.

 

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That’s good to know, thanks MGF. Honestly not sure why a tube didn’t come to mind. Must’ve had a brain fart. But that seems like a pretty solid plan so I’ll make sure to give that a worthwhile attempt. 

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  • Super User

I’m struggling now also. It will turn around. As long as I’ve been doing this I do not understand the spawn. I believe it has to do with more than that. I believe migration has a lot to do with it but where are they migrating from. Never thought they would have to travel that far. But than again I am not a biologist. And the more I overthink it the worse I make it for myself. 
 

I fish water very similar to what you are explaining, points and sand bars like that. 

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2 minutes ago, Spankey said:

I’m struggling now also. It will turn around. As long as I’ve been doing this I do not understand the spawn. I believe it has to do with more than that. I believe migration has a lot to do with it but where are they migrating from. Never thought they would have to travel that far. But than again I am not a biologist. And the more I overthink it the worse I make it for myself. 
 

I fish water very similar to what you are explaining, points and sand bars like that. 

That comes up a lot around here too. Many people swear that smallmouth swim upstream like a salmon to spawn. I suppose that’s possible but striper and white bass do that and they are always stacked up thick below dams, smallmouth not so much. 

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I can’t overthink it right now because I don’t want to ruin my season. This is common for me when I’m in that transition mode from trout to bass fishing. I believe much of it is in my head. We are windy and raining right now. Suppose to be messy the next couple/few days. Hopefully it will only just make the river slightly high and stain it. I’d almost rather see it stained up some. Lake will be fishable. 

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1 hour ago, TnRiver46 said:

That comes up a lot around here too. Many people swear that smallmouth swim upstream like a salmon to spawn. I suppose that’s possible but striper and white bass do that and they are always stacked up thick below dams, smallmouth not so much. 

I've read that smallmouth will travel a long way and I've seen some evidence of it in my river. It's just small and shallow and good wintering spots are hard to find. I don't think they go upstream to spawn but I think they head down to toward the reservoir looking for better wintering areas.

 

last fall when things dies up here I went down where the river is larger and deeper in the upper part of the reservoir and caught fish.

 

I don't think it's the same sort of "run" like you see with stripers, whites or walleye but I think they move.

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  • 3 weeks later...

River smallies definately travel downstream in late fall to the deepest pockets they can find. 

Wen the water hits bout 50°F they'll run up river and at 55°F they'll head to spawning flats quite often they go up into creeks and bays where the water heats up faster, is freshest, and has some current. Then the spawn is on.

 

After spawn some go back deep and some stay shallow. I catch most of my river smallies shallow.

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